U.S.-bound August shipments top 1 million mark, reports Panjiva

Following a strong growth month for United States-bound waterborne shipments in July, August picked up where July left off and then some, according to recent data issued by Panjiva.

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Following a strong growth month for United States-bound waterborne shipments in July, August picked up where July left off and then some, according to recent data issued by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

August shipments––at 1,042,942 million––saw a 4.4 percent annual increase and are up 4.4 percent over July. This marks the first time shipments for a single month have eclipsed the 1 million mark since Panjiva first began collecting this data in July 2007, with July 2016 second at 978,489. What’s more, it added that this shipment tally equates to a calculation of 2.36 million TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalents) of cargo, which is also a record.

On a year-to-date basis through August, shipments are up 0.72 percent annually at 7.362,841.

Driving a fair amount of growth in August were autos and auto parts up 6.6 percent annually and up 0.6 percent compared to July, with furnishings up 4.53 percent annually. On the other end was a 7.4 percent annual decline in apparel and imports of toys off 8.7 percent, which nearly negated a 10.7 percent annual increase for toys in July.

As for where the U.S.-bound shipments originated, Panjiva cited growth from the European Union up 20.7 percent, which Panjiva said speaks to a sustained period of recovery that is partly drivren by weakness of the pound and the Euro. In the Asia-Pacific, Chinese exports to the U.S. fell 0.7 percent annually, and South Korea, which was impacted by Hanjin Shipping’s bankruptcy filing saw a 2.2 percent decrease. Japan was off 5.9 percent annually.

“It looks like based on this data that the bulk of the U.S. economy is looking robust, with the same going from a consumer perspective, too,” said Panjiva Research Director Chris Rogers. “But even with U.S. consumers optimistic, they are not as optimistic as they previously were. It could be a pre-election thing but it is hard to say. We have had two good months in a row now, but that does not mean it stays that way going forward either.”

The reason for that, he explained, is that signals going forward are not unequivocally positive, citing how the EU led the U.S. export push by a large margin, due mainly to the weakness of the Euro relative to the strong U.S. dollar.

The Hanjin effect: While there have been various short-term issues related to the Hanjin bankruptcy, Rogers said it is like that September’s trade data will likely be unaffected.

“By September 30, U.S. import numbers will be normal as Hanjin filed for bankruptcy at the end of August,” he said. “From that regard, you won’t see a real ‘Hanjin Effect’ in trade figures, but interestingly Hanjin was shipping aggressively in July and August, perhaps a last-ditch grab for market share before things went horribly wrong.

For all of 2016, Panjiva is forecasting annual growth of 2.0 percent, which is up from last month’s forecast of 1.6 percent annual growth. And it added that this estimate is based on 66.4 percent of imports for 2016 having been completed by the end of August in a normal year.

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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